Thursday, February 14, 2008

Roger and Roger Go to Congress

Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what's going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate? ~Will Rogers

I'm not going to go over the litany of things that Congress should be doing these days instead of worrying about whether Roger Clemens got HGH shot into his butt or why Roger Goodell destroyed those New England Patriots tapes. After all, any idiot, except the ones in Congress, knows that they have better things to do. I am, however, going to indulge in one last rant about just how stupid all of this is, just because if I don't, the top of my head might blow off.

Now that I think of it, I think a case could be made about discriminatory practices against Congress: They obviously have it in for people named Roger. Oh, never mind, Congress isn't bound by its own discrimination laws.

Roger Clemens said he never took HGH or steroids. His former trainer says he shot his (Clemens') rear end just chock full of the stuff, not to mention stick a needle or two into Mrs. Clemens as well.

Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn.

Let's presume that Clemens is lying. HGH, which is supposed to be his main vice, does not promote muscle mass. It can reduce body fat, which will make the muscles you have stand out better. Roger Clemens does not look like a man who has lost much body fat, but even if he took the stuff, it wasn't going to make him into Superman. More likely, if he took the stuff at all, it was to promote healing and recovery.

By the way, HGH is not illegal.

Clemens won around 360 games. While helping his injuries heal and improving recovery time from the wear and tear of pitching would have been a factor, HGH didn't improve his ability to throw a curve and probably didn't do anything to increase the speed of his fastball. More likely, the fact that he was able to sign contracts that let him take the first two months of the season off was probably more of a factor in extending his career than HGH ever was.

And, by the way, gentlemen of the U.S. Congress, what kind of a deal is it where you beat a guy to death using someone's deposition while not having the author of that deposition face the same sort of scrutiny? What sort of kangaroo court is this? Sort of makes you understand where George Mitchell (former U.S. Senator) developed the methodology of using hearsay and unsubstantiated reports as the basis for his report.
The bottom line on all this steroid and HGH use is this: If most players were (or are) on the "juice", then the whole thing evens out. Stronger pitchers face stronger batters. Stronger defensive linemen face stronger offensive linemen. The games aren't affected. It's the lives of the players that can get loused up. That's why steroid use without a doctor's care is illegal. HGH, as mentioned, is not.

Then there's Roger Goodell and the mystery of the missing tapes. Good gravy, says Senator Arlen Specter (Idiot, PA), that evil Bill Belichick has been taping since 2000? Who knew? Well, Eric Mangini, coach of the New York Jets for one. That's the same Mangini who waited a couple of years to complain about the practice (inspired not by justice, but by the fact that his lousy Jets got smeared by Belichick's Patriots). Dick Vermeil snortingly offered that everyone has been doing this stuff for years.

And remember most of all, there is no rule in the NFL anywhere against the stealing of signs. I wish someone would remember that once in a while. Belichick broke a rule against taping from the sidelines. There were ways he could have legitimately taped that would have enabled him to gather the same "information"; the sidelines were just easier and more logical.

Why did Goodell destroy the evidence? Most likely, because the "evidence" didn't reveal very much. Since he had already tossed out his heavy fine and lost draft choice penalty, he'd look pretty stupid if someone got hold of those tapes and posted one on YouTube showing lots of shots of cheerleaders.

This is all so ridiculous. Who is being hurt by Belichick's taping and Clemens (and any other athlete) taking drugs? Not the fans, because everyone cheered for Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. They'd have cheered for Bobby Bonds if he actually had a personality. The players may be hurting themselves, not with HGH, but with over-the-top steroid regimens. That's why steroids were made illegal. Baseball was way too slow in imposing penalties compared to football, but they've done it. So what's the problem?

Perhaps the betting interests are the problem. If there's one group that doesn't want hanky-panky going on in sports, it's the bookies. That is, unless they're the ones pulling the hanky-panky.

Why isn't Congress worried about the effect of gambling on sports? I don't see an investigation of the NBA official who was on the take from gamblers. Not a single Senator wanted to drag Pete Rose in front of a committee to rip him about betting on his own team. In fact, not a single savior of our national morality has issued a single care about these very real threats to the integrity of sports.

These same Congressmen haven't been particularly upset about the fact that the NBA has no testing for marijuana, despite estimates that over 50% of NBA players use weed. Last I heard that stuff was not legal.

In fact, I haven't heard anyone getting upset about these two very real problems. Not the fans, not the media, and most of all not the Lords of Foggy Bottom.

Personally, I don't have anything against legal gambling. As to marijuana, I still expect it to be legalized someday. But, it's not legal now. When gamblers start affecting the outcome of games, that has a far worse impact on the integrity of sports than steroids Combine gamblers and stoned athletes, along with a crooked official or two, and the ramifications are mind-boggling.

Pity the media, Congress, and the pious hypocrites among fans (many of whom are gambling illegally) don't think any of this is important.

Enough. I'm done with this. I only wish the sports media was.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Foggy Bottom Is Still Foggy

Idiot, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. ~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Paul McNamara, one of my favorite columnists, hits the nail wonderfully on the head once again with his comments concerning Senator Arlen Spector's (Idiot, PA) intention to waste the Senate Judiciary Committee's time bullying NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about destroying those tapes they confiscated from the New England Patriots.

Those of you who think professional sports are dumb and find other things to do with your lives may not be aware that, earlier this year, the New England Patriots football team was accused of violating NFL rules by videotaping the opposing sidelines, ostensibly to steal signals. As I recounted at the time, what they in fact violated was not a rule of professional football but one of the so-called stadium rules against filming from the sidelines. There is no rule against stealing signals. Anywhere.

After levying what Roger Goodell considered to be appropriate punishments, the NFL ordered the miscreant Patriots to turn over said tapes to the NFL. The NFL, in a rather strange move, then promptly destroyed them. Equally strangely, no one seemed particularly put out by this. Personally, I figured that the reason the tapes were so promptly dispatched is because they showed absolutely nothing of consequence.

The New England Patriots, obviously severely damaged by their inability to engage in clandestine video taping, have struggled into the Super Bowl with a miserable 18-0 record, becoming the first team with a chance to win 19 games in a single season. Lord knows how well they could have done without the distractions.

Apparently, Senator Spector, who isn't running for anything this year so far as I know, has been seriously distracted for some months now. How else to explain that he just now heard of an event that occurred in September? It is only my inherent cynicism that compels me to think that it might be possible that a Senator from from a state containing a team that lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl (Pittsburgh) and contains an NFC team (Philadelphia; New England is in the AFC) might be trying to pick up a little political capital with the home folks, especially by timing his announcement to fall during Super Bowl week.

Conveniently, new allegations against the evil Patriots have surfaced, this time involving taping the Whatever-city-they-were-in Rams walking through their final workout prior to the 2002 Super Bowl, which was won by the Evil Patriots. It seems that this was reported anonymously and, according to Roger Goodell, had been previously investigated, with no wrongdoing have been discovered. Again, only the cynic in me suggests that Congressional Champion of Goodness Arlen Spector or his office could have had anything to do with anonymous release.

This is the same Congress that has wasted taxpayer dollars "investigating" the use of steroids in Major League Baseball. This is the same Congress that now, based on the unsubstantiated evidence of the Mitchell Report, wants to start investigating the same nonsense all over again.

To the members of Congress: Baseball players used steroids, HGH, uppers, downers, and just about anything else they could get hold of. While your collective breast-beating may have had something to do with MLB finally getting around to passing rules as the NFL did years ago, it's likely that it would have happened without your interference.

Further, members of Congress, it's interesting that you rather enjoy public displays of threatening to subpoena people who are being accused in a star-chamber proceeding like the Mitchell Report. It's interesting because, while the Mitchell Report is rather short on corroboration or real evidence, you're willing to investigate specific players while you are NOT willing to investigate the oil cartel, a vice president who indulged in secret meetings with said cartel and other energy concerns without telling us what they did (although based on energy cost increases ever since, I think we know what they talked about), and a president who flat out lied to the nation to get us embroiled in over 6 years of war in Iraq.

Congratulations, Senator Spector, you've managed to trivialize Congress even further than those events did.

Actually, I don't know how the NFL and MLB can keep missing the boat here. All they need to do is use the energy lobbyists to do their talking for them. A few well-place words from the oil cartel (along with a few well-placed campaign contributions) should keep Senator Spector and his colleagues at bay for the foreseeable future.

It's worked for Exxon for years.